240

Classical Jazz Quartet: The Complete Recordings

Hrayr Attarian By

Sign in to view read count
Classical Jazz Quartet: The Complete Recordings The names of Johann Sebastian Bach, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Sergei Rachmaninoff do not necessarily conjure images and sounds of jazz in one's mind, that is until one has listened to recordings by the Classical Jazz Quartet. Although these musicians utilize the same instruments as the Modern Jazz Quartet, they are in no way clones or copycats of that groundbreaking group. They have very much their own sound and style.

This is not surprising given the huge talent of the musicians involved; all four are virtuosos on their respective instruments. The themes, although composed in a different time and place, become excellent vehicles for complex, sometimes, bluesy, often swinging and always fresh improvisations in the hands of these musicians. And although one might think of any recording billed as "classical meets jazz" as background music, this music definitely is not.

The double CD consists of the group's three previously released recordings, plus one bonus track featuring their interpretation of Handel's Hallelujah. The first set consists of selections from Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. The arrangements here are tight, and the group improvisations are logical and very much in the hard bop/post bop tradition. The second set, spanning both CDs, consists of different selections by Bach. The arrangements here are looser and more relaxed, and the style varies from a Latin-tinged Brandenberg Concerto No. 2 to the very bluesy Brandenberg Concerto in A Major.

The third set is where the Latin and blues themes alternate prominently in several of the movements of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No 2 in C Minor, with an occasional ballad thrown in. The improvisations, by both individual musicians and the group, are uniquely fresh, especially the way they play off each other and the main musical theme. Each instrument is used as both a front-line instrument and part of the rhythm section.

The members of the group are musically compatible, both in their ensemble playing and in the way they support each soloist. The music in no way diminishes from the value of the masterpieces interpreted here; instead it sheds new and fresh light on them, and by doing so, it affirms yet once more the universality and timelessness of music.

No, the names of Johann Sebastian Bach, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Sergei Rachmaninoff do not necessarily conjure images and sounds of jazz in one's mind, but maybe they should—because brilliant music is thought-provoking, uplifting and enjoyable, no matter what the label.


Track Listing: The Nutracker Suite Overture Miniature; The Nutracker Suite March; The Nutracker Suite Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy; The Nutracker Suite Russian Dance Trepack; The Nutracker Suite Arabian Dance; The Nutracker Suite Chinese Dance; The Nutracker Suite Dance of the Reeds; The Nutracker Suite Waltz of the Flowers; Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring; BWV 1055 Oboe Concerto in a Major, 2nd Movement; BWV 1047 Brandenburg Concerto #2 in F Major, 1st Movement; BWV 775 Invention #4; BWV 1047 Brandenburg Concerto in a Major, 2nd Movement; Air; Piano Concerto #2 in C Minor Movement 1, Pt. 1; Piano Concerto #2 in C Minor Movement 1, Pt. 2; Piano Concerto #2 in C Minor Movement 1, Pt. 3; Piano Concerto #2 in C Minor Movement 1, Pt. 4; Piano Concerto #2 in C Minor Movement 1, Pt. 5; Piano Concerto #2 in C Minor Movement 2, Pt. 1; Piano Concerto #2 in C Minor Movement 2, Pt. 2; Piano Concerto #2 in C Minor Movement 3, Pt. 1; Piano Concerto #2 in C Minor Movement 3, Pt. 2; Hallelujah.

Personnel: Kenny Barron: piano; Stefon Harris: vibraphone, marimba; Ron Carter: acoustic bass; Lewis Nash: drums.

Title: The Complete Recordings | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Vertical Jazz Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read I Believe In You CD/LP/Track Review I Believe In You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Morning Sun CD/LP/Track Review Morning Sun
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 18, 2017
Read The Conscience CD/LP/Track Review The Conscience
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Harlem CD/LP/Track Review Harlem
by James Nadal
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Open Book CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Stolen Moments CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "The Pauper And The Magician" CD/LP/Track Review The Pauper And The Magician
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 17, 2017
Read "Onward" CD/LP/Track Review Onward
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 2, 2017
Read "Unlimited 1, Live at Catalina's" CD/LP/Track Review Unlimited 1, Live at Catalina's
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 22, 2016
Read "Into a Myth" CD/LP/Track Review Into a Myth
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 17, 2017
Read "Flux" CD/LP/Track Review Flux
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 12, 2016
Read "Another Place, Another Time" CD/LP/Track Review Another Place, Another Time
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 18, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.